The Park Rapids School Board on Monday authorized district administration to submit a review and comment to the Minnesota Department of Education regarding a school bond referendum proposed for Nov. 2.

Board member Jay Pike moved to submit the review and comment regarding the proposal to issue both voter- and board-approved financing totaling approximately $56.75 million for a school improvement project with an estimated construction cost of approximately $55.2 million.

If the bond is approved, high school improvements would include demolishing the Frank White Education Center to accommodate a new high school wing for grades 9-11; parking lot reconstruction; a high school addition for the Alternative Learning Center, art and agriculture programs; auditorium improvements; a scene shop addition; media center and classroom improvements; relocating the high school office, locker rooms and kitchen; and restroom improvements.

Renovations at Century School would include parking and parent pickup/drop-off improvements; securing entrances while relocating school offices and replacing playgrounds.

Additional improvements would include a new bus garage and supporting furniture, fixtures, equipment and technology.

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The motion passed without dissent.

In consent items and general business, the school board:

  • Acknowledged the state track and field and girls golf participants.

  • Approved a joint powers agreement for the Up North Learning Center. Superintendent Lance Bagstad the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School District was instrumental in securing funding to establish the Level 4 facility in Walker to serve the PAWN Special Education consortium, which also includes Nevis, Laporte and Remer.

  • Approved the school district’s Long Term Facility Maintenance 10-year plan. Most years from 2022 to 2031, the district projects LTFM revenues totaling between $1 million and $1.8 million, except for $3.4 million in fiscal year 2026 and $689,000 in fiscal 2031. Annual LTFM expenditures during the same period are expected to total around $300,000 to $500,000 per year, except for $978,000 in fiscal 2022, $4.5 million in 2023 and $1.2 million in 2024.

  • Approved the district’s 2021-22 literacy plan.

  • Approved second readings of the district’s employee, elementary school, middle school, high school, activities, substitute and technology implementation handbooks, coaches’ manual, student rights and responsibilities, code of conduct and discipline policy.

  • Approved the resignations of Kevin Murphy, junior high football coach; Tracey Wettels, paraprofessional; and Vicki Schroeder, National Honor Society adviser.

  • Hired Carrie Wittenberg, blind/visually impaired teacher; Lane Miles, assistant tennis coach; Lindsey Trompeter, half-time ADSIS paraprofessional and half-time PAWN Special Education secretary; Brian Johnson, assistant football coach; and Kevin Murphy, assistant varsity football coach.

  • Increased Community Education secretaries Tammy Boyd from 37.5 hours to 39 hours per week and Michelle Piepkorn from 10 months at 37.5 hours per week to 12 months at 39 hours per week.

  • Heard Bagstad report that transportation supervisor Cindy Leach said parents whose children will be busing next year, but did not bus during 2020-21, need to submit a request for those students. Bagstad reported that the only COVID guideline currently in place is the one requiring kids to wear masks on the bus.

  • Heard Bagstad report staff will receive ALICE (alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate) training this fall for active shooter situations.

  • Heard Middle School Principal Shawn Andress report that 34 students and 17 adults returned early Monday morning from the World Classrooms trip to Washington, D.C. Besides many other monuments and federal landmarks, she said, they went to see the Civil War battlefield in Gettysburg, Pa., placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and found the name of Gary Lee Rehn of Osage on the Vietnam War Memorial.

  • Heard High School Principal Jeff Johnson report that summer credit recovery continues, and he recently gave a school tour to a couple students transferring from Alexandria.

  • Heard Community Education Director Jill Dickinson report that the early childhood program was awarded its Pathway II Scholarship early childhood funding and voluntary pre-K funding for 2021-22, along with notice that the funding will continue. She said they were also awarded $19,000 to support their school-age care program. Dickinson also reported the success of an adult education trip to Washington, D.C. in which one senior citizen exclaimed, “I’ve waited my whole life for this.”

  • Heard Activities Director Jeremy Nordick hint about a general sense of burnout among athletic directors in the region, following a year “with the spectator lists and the contact tracing and the transportation situation and the mask police and the last-second adjustments on schedules … Next year, I just can’t wait to get our facilities back and get our community in, watching our teams and supporting our kids.” He said athletic events and other activities will be live streamed next year.

  • Approved payments presented for June, totaling $712,078.

  • Approved the quarterly student activities account report, with revenues totaling $18,673 and expenditures totaling $29,100.

The school board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 9 at the Frank White Education Center.